Cushing parents concerned about registered sex offender living near school
Cushing — Residents concerned that a registered sex offender is living in close proximity to an elementary school pushed for a restrictive ordinance at the Monday, Sept. 24 select board meeting.
Residents want an ordinance drafted to restrict registered sex offenders from living within 750 feet of the Cushing Community School, located at 54 Cross Road.
Members of a Cushing family attending the meeting said they had assumed this was prohibited by state law. However, when they contacted the Knox County Sheriff's Office they were told a town is obligated to adopt an ordinance to prevent offenders from residing near schools.
"How many towns think that they're safe from this and they're not?" said a resident.
According to the state statue, "A municipality may adopt an ordinance regarding resident restrictions for persons convicted of Class A, B or C sex offenses committed against persons who had not attained 14 years of age at the time of the offense."
Parents said their concern stems from a registered sex offender, Robert S. Young, 46, living near the school. According to Select Board Chairman Alton Grover, the residence could be within 750 feet of the school.
Young was convicted of gross sexual assault in 1992 with a person not yet age 14, according to the Maine sex offender registry site on Maine.gov.
Two addresses are listed for Young on the state sex offender registry site, one in Rockland and one in Cushing. This was last verified by the state in June.
Young was in Rockland District Court Sept. 13 on a charge of failing to register or update the sex offender registration and notification information required by the state from the sex offender registration and notification act of 1999, according to court documents. The offense occurred on June 8, 2012, according to court documents.
Young pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to appear in court again Oct. 25, according to court documents.
The District Attorney's office is requesting jail time for the offense, according to court documents.
Young is represented by court-appointed attorney William Pagnano of Rockland.
Grover said according to state police, Young was no longer on probation and not in violation of any laws living near the school.
Cushing does not currently have an ordinance preventing registered offenders from residing in close proximity to school zones. There are 10 registered offenders living in town, according to the state.
The law states "a municipality can prohibit residence of an offender up to a maximum distance of 750 feet surrounding the real property comprising a school of a municipal-owned property where children are the primary users."
The law is not retroactive — offenders living within 750 feet of a school zone can't be effectively forced out following an ordinance adoption. The ordinance is solely preventative — restricting offenders from relocating near schools, according to the statute.
Knox County Sheriff Donna Dennison said if citizens have concerns an offender is in violation they should contact the sheriff's office so they can investigate the situation.
Courier Publications reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at JLaaka@courierpublicationsllc.com.